Introvert Survival in the Big City?

For the last couple of years, my mission and lifestyle has led me to live in a major city.  Many key aspects make this place ideal to my purposes, the simplicity of public transportation, more jobs, the wide representation of unorthodox social circles I couldn’t find elsewhere, the protective anonymity living among millions…
Yet it’s also a place that wears me down.

There are crowds and noise everywhere and often there’s no escaping it for most of the day.
At the end of the day, the clamor of voices, rumble of construction, armies of cars, the odor of rancid people grease in that press of bodies still fills my senses like the slow-fading blindness after a bright light.
Oddly, one person restrooms seem to be the only possible sanctuary, a few quiet minutes in a day.

I realized one day that if there was a city with lots of introverts, there’d be something like coffee shops on every street corner, but with soundproof, dimly-lighted stalls.  Each stall might have some small windows, but only if its occupant lifted a slat to have a peek at events outside.
It would be pretty easy to have dozens of them lining the center and walls of a small indoor space.  Or why not even have them on the sidewalks, taking up little more space than a peanut stand?
You’d buy some coffee to get a key to one or rent one out at a low rate.

I’m supposing there might be a computer inside, or even a comfy chair that permits reclining.

I imagine you could turn the lights out, and let your overloaded senses recover in silence and pitch black if you wanted to.

It wouldn’t seem too much to have some speakers in each stall to play some ocean or rain sounds…

I’m just imagining, but I know if there were hordes of other people who felt like me, certain, goods, services, and customs would naturally manifest.
Their non-existence attests to the rarity and powerlessness of my kind.
After all, how do most people feel when they go to a foreign city where they can’t eat the foods they like, shop at the stores they’re used to, or observe the customs they know—because no one else there has those same preferences.  Often they become indignant and recoil as if insulted.
How must it feel to look around and see a city built and populated by people like you?  To think: “This is mine.  It belongs to my kind.”

One of the challenges of being an introvert, is every day, you’re hit in the face with how nothing in society reflects your needs—and no one cares.  It’s as if it were all run and set up by some alien species and you just try to accept existence in their hive fortresses as best you can always feeling something is missing; that you’re very far away from some home you dream of but have never seen.

Freedom and the Introvert

If there was just one idea I could teach a classroom of children.  An idea that would help create a better society around them wherever they go, it would be this.

To see society as an individual.

Over the years I’ve learned it’s one of the fundamentally different ways I perceive the world from others.

I spent years trying to explain my motivations to others and they would just stare at me.  I gave up.

Over time I finally figured out where the disconnect was.  Our fundamental world views were totally different.

An extrovert who lives within the social body sees society as reality itself.  If fuzzy hats are in fashion, they can’t criticize or argue with that because it is a natural law, like the laws of physics.  We all have to have a job or own a car because that’s just how it is, seemingly as constant as gravity. 
A well-adjusted person always uses words like ‘we’ when referring to a sports team, a nation, or a corporation.  In fact, I find one of the best ways to blend in with people is to use the collective ‘we’ in a sentence.
Ever noticed how anything in life considered mandatory by extrovert belongers is referred to as a ‘track?’  In their minds, it’s literally a mechanical rail from which life cannot deviate.

An outsider, meanwhile, learns to think of the society they live in as a single large entity they must co-exist with.  And over time, as an individual sitting across from them at a bargaining table.
Every day, I see this shadowy individual sitting across from me in a bare white room, like an interrogation room.  Between us, on the table lies a chess board on which we make our moves.  Every day is a new day where we negotiate terms at that table.  Any agreement, tacit or explicit is subject to sudden change.

This game is very challenging because I am weak and small while the being I’m playing against is immeasurably powerful.  It puts the terms on the table, but I have only a little power to reject or change the terms set before me.  Most of the time I have to rely on guile to get my way, looking for any crack in its defenses.  Existence is precarious.  At any time, it is capable of crushing me like an insect.  Its strong limbs are created by the power of belief of countless millions.  In spite of its overwhelming power, though, I am winning.

Compare my attitude now to a plugged-in person who simply takes whatever terms are handed to them and calls it ‘reality.’  There is no prospect for improvement or a better life.  Even if they become among a few who are rich in wealth or status, they can never escape the rules.
Worse, every person who uncritically accepts the world around them is a threat to every being of awareness and agency.

At the bargaining table, society has some limitations.  It can only offer an individual what most individuals are willing to accept.  If society isn’t offering what you want, it’s because most other people are willing to settle for less.
Every unaware person functioning as an unwitting tendril of Society is like a scab filling in for strikers, a liability to the common good.

We see every society is only as rich or poor, peaceful or violent, enslaved or free as an expression of most members of the group.  One could move them all to a new continent, even another planet, and all the same traits would quickly reassert themselves.
The society we must bargain with is exactly what we collectively deserve.

The character of Mr. Society sitting across the table from you tells you exactly how much most of your fellow humans are on your side.  Sadly, when I look into its face, I cannot doubt that it is The Enemy, as I knew by instinct even as a small child.  It is a sad perversion of what it ought to be.

The perspective of the introverted outsider, is similar to the Kantian concept of a moral imperative.  To consider what the world would look like if everyone did it.
To not steal from a supermarket, for instance, because no supermarket could stay open if everyone stole.  And because every theft passes the cost on to those who pay.

The outsider understands a burden of responsibility that is inherently alien to Belongers.  This, however, gives a matured outsider incredible freedom and power to act on the world.  The ability to do things that most others on their predestined tracks cannot even imagine.
The ability to face society at that table and engage in battle, knowing that you’re not just fighting for yourself, but for the sake of everyone around you… That’s what sets apart a free being from the perpetual slave.

Many times in life I’ve simply found ways around the typical ‘achievements’ and status trinkets that are considered essential, not because there’s anything special about them, but because people are mortally afraid of ostracism from the tribe if they fail.  Afraid of losing access to mating partners.  Afraid of being broke and losing status.  Afraid of ending up out on the streets.  Afraid of being turned away by their friends and family…
But when you turn and meet The Enemy face to face, you stop being a small terrified thing just reacting to capricious threats from cradle to grave.

The Deeper Reason Why Cerebral “Aspie” Introverts Suffer In The School System

As a kid I was behind.

I didn’t have the social awareness of other kids my age, my physical coordination was terrible.  When other kids were getting started with stuff like piano lessons or soccer, I wasn’t remotely ready.
When all the other kids were riding bikes around the neighborhood I was still walking around.   In fact I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 14 years old.

My parents were scared to death thinking something was wrong with me looking for diagnoses, some tangible problem with a name.  I spent my entire youth being told I had a “disability.”

Then oddly enough as I neared puberty, the gap began to close.  By the beginning of high school, I was essentially functional, but still far from typical milestones in a teenager’s life.  I was closer to a late elementary stage of social development until I was in college.

Then through my twenties I began to gain traction and with every year grew stronger and began to pass people up.

Today at almost 30 years of age, I feel I’ve truly begun to come into my own.  Socially I feel competent and physically I’m well beyond the majority of my contemporaries.

In retrospect, I realize I experienced a lot of my difficulties because I simply had an atypical pattern of development.

At age 8, I was reading classics of literature and memorizing books on biology but couldn’t really hold a normal conversation or grasp unspoken social cues.

To develop certain capacities early on, sacrifices had to be made in other areas.

And if one wants to build a larger, more complicated structure, it simply takes longer to do it…

Nature always chooses the easiest, lowest investment solution to any given problem.

A creature is only strong, fast, or smart as the investment pays off.

More capabilities and complexity means longer gestation, smaller “litter” size, more calories to stay alive, longer time to grow to maturity.  All of these are great sacrifices when the ultimate goal is spreading genes.

I’ve come to understand that if one looks past PC nonsense that tells us everyone is the same, we quickly see that children develop at different rates, in different patterns.  We are each born with a plan that unfolds in stages.

The clear implication of this is chilling when we look at the uniform environment of mass compulsory schooling.

For most, this sort of system is relatively innocuous but for any sort of outlier, it’s a potentially deadly threat.

It dawned on me that a “smart” kid following a slower development path sent to mass schools is like a cub being thrown into a pit full of wolves…It quickly and elegantly explains much of my life.

In schools, a late development outlier spends his entire young life at the mercy of those early apex predators whose breed’s plan is a race to mature first and get first dibs on mates and resources.

The funny thing is, I always instinctively recognized their kind as my natural enemy in the wild but adults, the ideas adults liked contained nothing that could help me make sense of this.

After years of life experience, I know to tailor any recommendation to people’s differing needs.  I would wholeheartedly tell parents of an average kid to send their kid to public schools but definitely encourage parents of an outlier kid to consider homeschooling or some other more supportive and protective schooling environment.

Parents who send that cerebral yet oblivious and clumsy kid to survive in the crowd are unwittingly betraying and abandoning their own at the time of greatest possible vulnerability.

Many don’t make it out alive and many that do are effectively destroyed while still in the bud, their potential contribution expunged from the human race, their plan likely erased from the gene pool.
A uniform mass society entails both “soft” persecution and genocide.

Mass schools operate by the same philosophy as a corn field.  The goal is to create a monoculture and any specimens not up to the task are discarded.

Outliers are a minority by definition, but we must also remember, that virtually anything remarkable must come from outliers by that same token. 

Herein lies much of the difference between the performance of one society against another… To what extent do they suffer outliers to exist?

I will conclude with this:  If I suppose my particular plan entailed higher investment, higher risk, and slower maturity, I have an implicit duty to nature to make it pay off.  Else, what I am ought to be extinct.

Introverts, Atheism, and Nihilism

There’s an enemy anyone given to prolonged thought has to face.

Sooner or later the question of purpose and meaning looms like a wall.

If all is wiped away when we die, what is the point?  Is life worth it, or just a cruel joke?

Time and again I’ve heard smart Christians present an unmoved mover, a first cause outside of time, as “proof” of a specifically Christian God.

All this really tells us is this universe had to be started from a cause outside the rules that govern our universe.  If that means God, at best we can assume a Spinozan God that’s more of a force of nature than a human personality directly involved in our lives.  And an afterlife or reincarnation?  I can think of no reason to assume such a thing is true.
It makes the most sense to assume this is our one chance since we do not know otherwise.

It’s easy to fall into the trap that atheism is the “rational” approach while anyone religious is simply deluding themselves.  It seems at first to make sense.

But then you have to live your life by the values you have chosen…

Atheist “humanists” like to point out that lack of religion doesn’t cause them to go out and start randomly being evil.  They often live by a moral code.

The trouble is that strong atheism must reduce to nihilism.  One cannot hold moral values if one explicitly believes in a universe without purpose or meaning.  Nothing can be good or bad in such a universe.  Strangling puppies is no better or worse than winning the lottery.  Life is no better than death.

Here, the supreme irony of moral atheists becomes clear.  Despite professing atheism they mostly continue to stick to Judeo-Christian moral laws.  They don’t practice what they preach…because if they did, it would destroy them.

The interesting thing is one cannot be an atheist…at least not for real.  I was inspired to make this post when a reader named luciferslibrarian asked me this:

So I am curious – you mention that you have used philosophy to arrive at meaning. I am an introvert whose biggest problem has always been that I don’t see meaning in anything. The older I get, the worse it gets. When I was younger, I was far more motivated and creative; driven even. Now I find getting started on the smallest tasks almost insurmountable, because I don’t see the point. Most people I know take solace and find meaning in friends and family, but as an introvert with a less than stellar relationship with my family, the social path is not really for me. I also know that toiling in obscurity for some higher purpose is kind of a pipe dream. Can you shed any light?

I replied:

Yes! The biggest problem we have to face is the challenge presented by the yawning nothing of nihilism.

I approach it something like this:

The adoption of nihilism is pretty much guaranteed to destroy civilizations and hamper the progress of individuals, to trick them into living a directionless cursed half life until they finally die.

Nihilism seems to make sense based on what we know, but if we implement it, it’s unquestionably destructive.
As I see it, living by nihilism is against the observable laws of our universe. It doesn’t work. In this sense it is objectively false.

Also, even nihilists don’t really truly act on nihilism. The logical thing to do if you’re a nihilist is to be unaware of the problem of nihilism. That knowledge only causes pain and dissonance and even if it’s the truth, who cares if it has no meaning anyway. Better to be like an insect in the field playing out its role as a biomachine, never doubting.

You can’t even be a conscious nihilist or atheist and really be consistent!

If nothing has meaning, we might as well kill ourselves, start a party binge to drown out the knowledge of our fundamental irrelevance, or have some of our brain removed to remove the pain inflicted by ennui.
Yet no one does the logical thing…

A self professed strong atheist or nihilist is a liar. They clearly continue to believe in some kind of meaning or higher purpose. They can say what they want, but what they do says it all.

Since meaning is a law of existence for a sentient being, we might as well either completely accept that or self destruct.

Faced with a choice…I chose meaning.

At least I chose to follow meaning.  It’s a battle that never ends for a person of awareness.  That creeping feeling of pointlessness and despair is an adversary that’s always there, waiting for an opening.  It’s the price we must pay to be aware.

It’s a fearful thing to face and those who can avoid it through distractions usually do.

I’ve spent some time just thinking about this post, because I know from experience, there’s few greater threats to an introvert’s life than the triumph of meaninglessness within.

Often isolated, without any sources of fulfillment in the material world, many of us don’t make it.  I am convinced that confronting the problem of nihilism is something that can save lives.  Asking those questions without a doubt played a huge role in saving my life.

Far from a dramatic conversion to orthodox religion, I’ve come to see things in a way that diverges from both atheists and theists.

Consulting both reason and my intuition, I’ve long since come to conceive of “God” as something closer to that Spinozan force of nature.  It doesn’t have a mind or personality exactly nor is it remotely human.

Logically, the best way to understand its nature is to observe nature’s workings.

For the most part, it seems to be an impartial thing, but it does establish certain laws that govern our universe…

For years after having rejected strong atheism I was vexed.

Many having gone through the same process as I did become religious.

But all my life I had marveled how absolute morality legislated by a deity tends to lead to hypocrisy and ambiguity in interpretation.

What’s more, “absolute” morals often backfire when “good” people restrain themselves and others happily take advantage of them.

If religious moral law isn’t consistent with observable reality, then atheists with their satirical Flying Spaghetti Monster make an excellent point.  If God’s law turns out to be arbitrary in implementation, the 11th commandment might as well be Thou Shalt Not Tie Thy Shoes.
We’re left with an absurd nothing that reduces to Nihilism!  Orthodox religions need an afterlife to “solve” this problem!

So a key requirement of a life-preserving belief system for a thoughtful person is that it must make sense within observable reality…

At this point, Taoism with its ‘Way’ provided some key inspiration.

There are observable laws of the universe that move us along effortlessly when we follow them and crush us when we fight them.

We see this everywhere in the natural world and in our lives as human beings.

From this perspective, lack of meaning simply violates a timeless law.

If we must either hold to purpose or perish, it is clear what we must do…
Meaning becomes effectively self-evident because we cannot exist without it!

Since finding a way to help nullify the threat of nihilism I’ve since used this basic premise to create the values I live by.  It has served as a genuine map telling me what I ought to do next rather than being a burdensome absolute law that spites the nature of reality in hopes of a better hereafter.

Introvert Survival: Resisting Shamers

Someone trying to shame you into some kind of “proper” behavior is usually trying to persuade you to act against your own best interests.

Those who have gone along with the crowd and become miserable are most likely to try to drag you down along with them.  Misery loves company.

Or perhaps they’re trying to convince you to sacrifice for a group, a “society” a “nation” an abstract “us” that will never give back.

Growing up I was always perplexed at the life advice of adults.  They inevitably wanted young people to mimic their particular course in life, yet there was no indication they were especially contented with their lives.  At best, they were better off than others.  Fear of falling, of scarcity, of status loss seemed to motivate them far more than hopes of rising to anything better.

All the people pleasers who want you to be just like them are trying to trick you into moving away from your strengths, your position of power.  An enemy army trying to goad you into giving up the high ground and engaging in battle on their terms.

When you realize people come in breeds, you realize we all have a natural battle plan in our blood that helped our ancestors succeed in having and raising successful kids.

As an outsider you have to learn their Plan is not yours.

The safest Plan is low risk, low reward.

The outsider is by nature high risk, high reward.  The attrition rate is high but some make it.  And when they make it, it’s on another order of magnitude.

It took many years to begin to free myself from the endless doubts buried in me by a lifetime of criticism and shaming.

The hardest thing was learning to trust my deeper instincts and let them guide me towards my Plan.
When everyone around tells you you’re doing it all wrong—that you are Incorrect—it’s very difficult to learn to listen to that instinct!

If we try to imitate someone else’s ways and constantly second-guess, we cripple ourselves, destroying any chance for success.

The people introverts see all around them are behaving naturally; they’re in their element.
They don’t even have to think about it because they’ve always been able to live out who they are without being punished or forced into hiding.  They’ve been encouraged and built up, the way along their natural path smoothed for them.

The introvert’s equivalent isn’t trying to ape them, it’s learning to follow your own instinct to that same state of life.

Extrovert Critic: “You can’t judge a book by its cover!”

Most plugged in people will tell you, “You can’t judge someone!” but anyone with a Subtle predisposition has always seen the hyprocrisy behind such sentiment.

Countless times we’ve seen the very same people turn around and judge in the next instant by appearance, dress, ethnicity, walk, talk, music, hobbies, sports, food…you name it.

One has to conclude they are simply oblivious and do not know themselves to be able say such silly things.

One with a degree of self-awareness understands it’s simply human to judge, and the better we get at consciously reading certain signs, the less arbitrary and more accurate such readings become.

In the ‘Highlander’ TV shows and movies, two immortals can instantly sense each other’s presence when they enter a room, even if there’s a crowd.

Over the years, I’ve come to understand it’s exactly the same with different types people.

I have an old saying “Every breed knows its own.”

Any place where people gather whether a profession, a hobby, or a bar tends to attract a particular breed.
And once a certain breed achieves a critical mass, it penalizes incompatible types and promotes the like-minded.

Such are people.

One can understand the way of the world and work with it or ignore it and mask the truth with popular platitudes.

This is especially important for someone of a minority breed, an introvert outsider who enters nearly every group setting at a major disadvantage, faced with loyalty tests and traps meant to weed them out.

Life as one of an outcast breed is precarious.  Judging who can be trusted and who is compatible becomes even more important.

For years, to my great detriment, I was handicapped by the common platitudes.  All that misdirection has little real effect most people’s behavior because their actions are mostly guided by instinct.
But for someone of awareness, such falsehoods can be devastating.

I ended up not judging time and again growing up when I absolutely should have!
Only after years did I begin to understand that everything I’d ever been told was a lie!

Finally, I learned to become gradually more shrewd about sizing people up.

Before overall appearance, ethnicity, age, anything else there are far more important things to pay attention to.

First is body language.

Subtle people, are often divorced from their bodies, but spiritually quite aware.  This makes for a distinct demeanor…often stiff and deliberate, a certain presence, a detached dignity.  It comes across as cold, robotic, haughty, very unpleasant to “well-adjusted” people.

They never walk into a room with a smile.  First they observe.

They don’t smile for most photos, but they do regard the camera with a frank and intimate gaze that reveals their character.

One cannot exaggerate the importance of the eyes:

People of the outcaste breeds have what I call spirit or dream eyes, because there’s a light of awareness, a certain type of awareness that I don’t see in most people’s eyes.

As a high school freshman, a name sprung into my head as I observed people passing by during lunch or walking to my next class:  In my mind but never aloud I called them “The Dog-Eyed.”  There was emotion and personality in their eyes, but none of “the awareness.”
Back then I just felt something was horribly wrong, I was totally isolated, but didn’t remotely understand I had to actively judge to find friends and allies in this world.

Now, it seems I can get at least strong hints of breeds and predispositions even just looking at pairs of eyes in a crowd.  And when I have a chance to get to know more about someone, my first impression is less and less often wrong.  Patterns we’re not supposed to see in polite society are all arrayed for our perusal.

As I’ve learned, some people are not “in” their eyes or face, when seeing athletes or anyone who works primarily with their body, often I see an odd emptiness in their visage but quickly sense their energy lies in their torso instead; they talk with their shoulders.  I even find myself returning their gaze to their center and it seems natural enough to them.

It’s not without coincidence that professional athletes and dancers are not also scientists or philosophers.  They live first in their body’s instinct, pretty much the polar opposite of the archetypal thinker.

Another giveaway is how someone talks.
Unusual and unusually varied word choice is very common; all of it contraband smuggled through the blockade of the mass culture.
The introvert often has the same deliberate, stilted, yet dignified manner with their mouth as they have with the rest of their body and there’s no way to hide it, not even when trying to imitate common diction.
I don’t think even language really matters; the “symptoms” are always there.

Introvert Strengths: Acting From Principle

Many a person who has prided themselves on “social skills” and “empathy” has totally misinterpreted my moods and motives.

And when they can’t make sense of me tend to assume there is no logic to my actions.

They are confused because I make decisions on principle.

We can get rich, be liked by everyone, have lots of great sex but it all counts for nothing in a few short years.

There’s a question in my head every day: “What’s going to matter?”
It’s a clean razor that slices away the big mound of stuff every “well adjusted” person is supposed care about in one swift swipe.

The terror of social rejection that governs most people’s lives from their earliest memories to the grave suddenly seems like just an inconvenience.

The best thing about living life on principle: it’s far easier.

Let’s say you want to get rich.  The trouble is everyone would like to be rich.  You can predict every plan to get rich has been thought of and tried endlessly. Society just keeps building its defenses until there’s calluses about a mile thick.

To go out and get rich you’re leading a desperate charge up a hill against an implacable fortress.  All the forces in the universe are arrayed in an attempt to stop you from succeeding.
And should you succeed against all the odds, you’ll become the new keeper of the great fortress in charge of keeping your wealth from everyone who wants to take it…

Since I was teen I’ve had a personal saying:  “Most valuable is gold that only glitters for you.”

When you are an introvert outsider who can see the world as if soaring above, it’s easier to think like a strategist and avoid spending all one’s energy attacking where the enemy is strong.

Where I have striven for objectives I arrived at through philosophy, I have seized them with surprisingly little resistance.

Society is not designed to stop people motivated by principle from achieving their goals!
This alone tells me how few are out there on the same path.

Where the status climber is forever fighting against a tight-packed crowd, I, to my delight, find myself unopposed across a vast plains stretching beyond sight.

I cannot say more in public, but I have succeeded better than I could have possibly imagined and live every day knowing certain affairs are in order that will continue even should I die today.  To me, this is infinitely more valuable than sleeping with a supermodel or winning the lottery.

Though I have often been poor, I will not be surprised if eventually I came to control significant wealth.
I seek wealth, just like all the rest, but my motives and methods differ.

I yearn after wealth to provide the minimum I need for a reasonably comfortable independence and every penny beyond that to bend reality to my will.

The immune system of the Collective Tyrant is very strong against Loud climbers who want fancy cars and mansions.
But will it be able to stop someone who acts from purpose?

For someone who acts on principle, all wealth is just a budget to help achieve certain things and the very concepts of ‘rich’ or ‘poor’ mean little.
There is only ‘enough’ or ‘not enough.’